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Movies You Might Have Missed

Blade Runner: (1982) This hauntingly beautiful, intense movie stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. Revisit a magnificent, yet bleak vision of the future in the year 2019, Los Angeles as Rick Dekard, a Blade Runner (cop) exterminates Replicants (clones) who’ve hijacked a ship back to earth. The Replicants are exterminated upon detection. This movie questions what it is to be human, or not to be human. Rated R

 The Hoosiers: (1986) This one stars Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, and Dennis Hopper. It was inspired by the Milan (Indiana) Indian’s state tile of 1954. Although it centers around the basketball players, who are underdogs on a grand scale, and their volatile coach, it’s more about how these people change each other, help each other, and to some extent irritate each other, yet in the end their desire to be successful pushes them all to become better people…and better athletes. It’ a tale of redemption and even though it’s an older movie, it’s fantastic. Rated PG

 The Silence of the Lambs: (1991) Jodie Foster plays FBI cadet Clarice Starling, who interviews Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter) who is an incarcerated madman/ serial killer. She is hunting down “Buffalo Bill,” a serial killer who does unspeakable things to his female victims. I think this is Anthony Hopkins best role as he is horribly convincing…absolutely stunning in this movie. Rated R

 Fargo: (1996) Written by the Coen Brothers, this is a dark comedy centering around a kidnapping that goes as wrong as possible. Jerry Lundegaard is having financial troubles and works for his father-in-law who owns a car lot. Jerry hires losers from Fargo, North Dakota to kidnap his wife so he can get ransom from his father in-law. Frances McDormand is the police chief  playing Marge Olmstead-Gunderson and she investigates the three people murdered around Brainerd, Minnesota. Frances McDormand is always entertaining and she handles this role with a charming sarcasm that makes Fargo memorable. Rated R

 The Rock: (1996) A great action/thriller starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. Cage plays Stanley Goodspeed who must team up with Connery’s character, John Patrick Mason, who has been jailed for 30 years because he supposedly stole the private files of J. Edgar Hoover. Alcatraz Island has been taken over by a crazed group of terrorists led by marine General Francis Xavier Hummel who, for years, has been protesting the government’s refusal to pay benefits to families of war veterans who died during covert military missions. It turns out the marines/terrorists kill the entire squad sent by the military, except for Goodspeed and Mason. They have to keep Hummel from setting off VX gas warheads into San Francisco. It’s an awesome movie with great character development of Goodspeed and Mason. The soundtrack is icing on the cake. Rated R.

 The Fifth Element: (1997) This movie stars Bruce Willis as Korbin Dallas and Milla Jovovich as Leeloo. It focuses on Evil coming to earth every 5000 years and what’s needed to stop it is the fifth element, which is Leeloo. (Water, air, wind, and fire are the other four elements.) It’s an exciting, fast-paced science fiction story that is also quite funny. Ian Holm is terrific as Father Vito Cornelius and Chris Tucker is hilarious as Ruby Red. Rated PG-13

 Whale Rider: (2003) Takes you on a journey with Kiesha Castle Hughes as she strives to become the next chief of her tribe living on the east coast of New Zealand. Kiesha plays Pai…an 11 year old living in a male-dominated society where the chiefs are always first born males, but she believes she is supposed to be the next chief. So she fights against her beloved grandfather and traditions to fulfill her destiny. It’s truly a magical movie. Rated PG 13

 Garden State: (2004) Written and directed by Zach Braff, who also stars as Andrew Largeman  in the movie, this one is exceptional. Natalie Portman stars as Sam, who is a pathological liar, and after she meets Andrew…his life is never the same. They discover life is never what it’s cracked up to be, but it beats the alternative. It’s tender, funny…really touching at times, yet it is out there a bit too. I loved this movie, but make sure to preview it before renting. Rated R

 Serenity: (2005) It’s been called a space-western. If you ever watched the cancelled Fox science fiction television series Firefly, this movie takes place after the final episode. Serenity is set 510 years in the future, and follows Captain Malcolm Reynolds and his crew on Serenity, which is a cargo/transport ship. It has action, adventure…cool special effects and really great fight scenes. It’s all about doing what’s right in spite of the danger and sacrifice involved. Rated PG 13

 Up Side of Anger: (2005) Joan Allen stars as a suburban wife who realizes her husband has left her. At first, the anger and sadness control her, but then she gains control to find life is always what you make of it…no matter what happens. Kevin Costner stars too. It’s about being responsible for how you affect the people around you in both good and bad ways. It has humor, lots of drama, and life lessons throw in too. Rated R

 Waitress: (2007) This movie is about an unhappily married waitress named Jenna, played by Keri Russell, who hopes to win a pie-baking contest so the prize money will enable her to leave her abusive husband, Earl. However, her plans get totally botched up as she struggles with an amazing attraction to the new town doctor. This is a story about second chances and having dreams. PG 13—BUT I think it’s more of an adult movie.

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Enemy of Mine

Don’t be afraid—you can handle this monster. It’s big, ugly, and seemingly hell bent on ruining your hopeful outlook for the future, but you can beat it to death and come out ahead. Come on; let’s get a stronghold on the beast sucking the life out of us all…the economy.

Take Charge

Keep in mind, fail to plan…plan to fail. Design a financial plan that will stretch the income you have and prevent wasteful spending. Start by examining every bill, fee, interest rate, etc. and look for ways to lower them or cut them out altogether. For example, consider refinancing your mortgage, switch to interest free credit cards, make sure your bank is not charging you ridiculous fees, and if you do use a credit card—use one that rewards you with cash back.

Compare costs for any service you use with competitors to save money. This includes services like water filtration services, garbage pickup, landscaping/grounds keeping, snow removal, annual pool openings/maintenance, driveway sealants, pest control, cable, Internet, and telephone services. Also consider taking time to compare your insurance needs with various companies. Auto, home, and life insurance are expensive, so get the most for your money. Some companies offer discounts if you pay for the entire year upfront.

Just Do It

Instead of hiring people to service your lawn, pool, and driveway, plus kill any pesky bugs on your premises…just do it and save money. For example, learn to trim your children’s hair. I’ve always done this and with six kids you can imagine the money I’ve saved over 23 years. Learn how to tile a bathroom, paint a room like a pro, clean carpets, or tackle simple home repair problems by renting or buying “how to” DVD’s. Utilize free classes at home supply-improvement stores and remember to visit your local library. The Internet is also a valuable resource for anyone looking to save money on home remodeling or repairs.

If the idea of cutting hair or tiling a bathroom seems overwhelming, then think about your circle of friends and the skills you all collectively possess. Trade time with each other, teach each other, and make good use of the skills you’ve all been blessed with.

Purchases

Groceries- According to my teens, Coca Cola is a necessity. If the dinner menu includes burgers or pizza, I agree, but any other time, it can be left out of the buggy and the world will not end. If you are living on a tight budget, use coupons if you would purchase those items with or without the coupons, but realize if you are only buying products because of coupons, then you’ve been tempted to spend money on things you would not have had on your grocery list. Too often, money is spent on snacks and sugary drinks, instead of nutritious food. Shop around, look for deals, and be cautious about over buying. No matter what I do, I cannot freeze bread or buns. They always taste awful if frozen for too long, so I never stock up on those items. However, go for it and stock up if napkins, paper towels, garbage bags etc. are on sale.

Meals- Rather than paying $2.25 to $3.00 for a can of soup or chili, make a huge batch. Soup can be used for several dinners, especially if you have soup and sandwiches one night, and then soup and salad another night. Tasty muffins or cornbread can be made cheaply and make dinner more satisfying.

If you do buy dinner as “take-out,” skip the drinks. You’ll get more for your money if you use the drinks you have at home.

Clothes- Great deals can be found online and coupon codes are easy to locate as well. Amazon, eBay, Eastbay, Kohls, Overstock, and Old Navy have amazing deals from time to time. Stock up at the end of a season and you’ll really see big savings.

Vehicles- The beastly economy has made it difficult for many to purchase a new car, so look online and locally at the used cars available in your area. Wheel and deal to the best of your ability and do this by knowing exactly what you’re looking for and what the book value is of said vehicle. Kelley Blue Book can help, plus visit websites like Carfax or AutoCheck to run the VIN numbers of any vehicles that catch your interest. Bear in mind, especially with used vehicles, if a deal sounds too good to be true…it usually is.

Holidays/Birthdays

This is a touchy subject for some people, but 2010 is the year to make major changes in shopping preferences for holidays and birthdays. Be brave and inform your loved ones you are cutting back and you honestly want them to do so as well. Gifts do not have to be expensive to be meaningful.

Internet Presence

For some small business owners, maintaining a web presence is extremely costly. Think about using free blogging sites and affordable website building sites, like Create Personal Websites, as alternatives to paying someone else to maintain your online presence. WordPress and Blogger make space available enabling any business owner to shine. Twitter is also another great marketing tool that can be used for free. Upgrades are available on these free options, but if you are just starting a business…get online, link with other businesses, fill your website with terrific keywords and content, and satisfy your potential customers by enticing them to come back to your website.

This may mean learning basic html, but nowadays, templates are used making it incredibly easy to get online and create impressive blogs and websites. Once again, I must stress if you need to learn about online marketing, but you feel intimidated, check with your family and friends for help. Today’s teens are connected to the Internet and almost instinctively know how to maneuver through the virtual world with ease.

Go Green

Go green, save trees…save money. If your business typically sends out paper correspondences, go green and make the same documents pdf files or accessible online instead. Newsletters, quarterly statements, and/or company magazines can all be web based and they will look stunning, plus save businesses money. Bank online and skip buying stamps too.

Entertainment/Family Time

During these tough times, using local libraries to acquire entertainment resources is a smart choice. Libraries today are nothing like the ones I frequented as a child. Movies, puppets and toy areas, group activities for both adults and children, and use of computers make them a wonderful place to visit. I was shocked when I visited our local library.

NETFLIX– So great to rent movies online and never have to pay late fees! Check it out and see if this online movie rental company can save you money.

College

Remember to take advantage of the lower tuition costs at a local community college. Make sure to investigate which universities will accept your credits as transfer credits. Online classes are wonderful for people who need flexibility in their schedules. Also, if possible, avoid out-of-state tuition. Apply for grants and scholarships in a timely manner, and bear in mind some local organizations offer fantastic scholarships.

If you served in the Peace Corps or the military, check to see if your college offers anything special just for you.

If you have a great money saving tip, please leave a comment.

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